I spend so much time thinking about being healthy and eating well. Literally. All the time.
I’ve come a long way in how I approach food. When I first did WW so many years ago and then did 21 Day Fix last year I literally planned out every bite I would take, what exercise I would do and approached weight loss as a General planning an attack. Even if I did not feel like eating what food I had planned I still had it because that was what “fit” for that day. I analyzed each food for calories, fat, fiber and nutrition. I was so regimented in my eating that I forgot to enjoy food and being social (!) and was pretty miserable.
I have to say I really have come to dislike (okay, hate) the words Rules, Off limits, Diet, and No. To my mind they represent restriction and hardship. Food and eating better should not have to be fraught with all these issues. Food is food, some of it better nutritionally than others but it’s just food. We need food to survive.
Exercise was often engaged in as a “payment” for eating; if I eat this then I have to walk/run/bike etc to balance it. I exercised to the point of being exhausted and sore for days. I have so many videos and all kinds of equipment that I could have a personal gym. We need to move in order to keep our bodies moving well but it doesn’t have to be hard every time.
So, my Philosophies on being healthy.
I’ve come to believe in being Practical and Simple.
No “Rules”. No guilt. No crazy planning.
These are my Guidelines:
* I try to live by the 80/20 principle: if you choose more’nutritionally dense food’ (further said as healthy/healthier) in both type and portion you can splurge or choose something less healthy the other 20% of the time. Life is about balancing the two.
The same can be said for being active. I used to run, a lot. But it became less fun and injuries occurred and I just kinda stopped doing it. I love to walk (and hike) and I have a really fast pace naturally. I love walking with other people; conversations and sharing ideas happen so easily when you fall into the rhythm of moving. Most of the people I walk with just are not as fast paced as I am.Just saying, but I am okay with that because I also reap other benefits of relaxation, breathing deeply and just enjoy moving. Could I focus on it not being a ‘high intensity’ workout? Sure, but why? I could force myself to do a HIIT workout and be so sore that I am unable to do it again for several days or I can just enjoy moving. I’ve come to realize that there are so many options to being active that to force myself to endure something I dislike just to burn a few more calories is absurd.
*No guilt about my choices. I could drive myself crazy thinking about every bite of something I ate that might not be the best for me or guilt myself for not exercising for 2 days but it serves no purpose. For most instances I find that guilt backfires: it leads to more of the same and suddenly you just give up and go back to old habits. Instead use it as a learning tool to see where you might change the circumstance (if you can). Most of our “bad habits” are just that–a learned reaction to a stimuli. Stressful situations often lead to just grabbing what is handy instead of a better choice (nutritionally). It happens. Maybe something that can avoid it is to keep a snack (granola bar or similar) in your bag. Super busy? Sneak in moving by taking the stairs, parking farther away or anything that makes you move like walking while you are on the phone.
*Being Prepared is half the Battle! While I no longer plan every bite I do try to food prep every week so I have healthy/ier options available. I cut up veggies, make brown rice and often precook chicken for salads. I make sure I have yogurt available. Having these things available helps to avoid choosing the other options that don’t keep me healthier. Helps, but everyone slips up especially when busy or tired.
*Make time to reflect and see the Big Picture. So often we get so caught up in living and working that we forget to have a life. We dream about what we would do ‘if we just had the time and money’ but rarely do anything to get there. I’m learning to simplify and have been getting rid of material possessions that I don’t need to that just add clutter. I feel calmer giving things to people who can benefit from them. I am being much more selective about what I purchase. My husband and I discovered kayaking this summer and started doing a lot of research. For what we want in terms of function and size it will run about $2000 for 2 kayaks, gear, travel stuff and little things. We could have put them on a credit card but we decided to save until next year and decide if it is truly something that will bring us joy and an opportunity to be together (or alone) in Nature or if it is just a spur of the moment interest. So what does this have to do with being healthy? A tranquil mind often has a trickle down effect into eating well and being active because we are not trying to find a substitute for being happy in either food or drink.
These are my big guidelines. Am I a perfect example of a healthy person? No. Am I making progress? Yes, definitely. One day at a time.
Please feel free to share your thoughts and feelings.